Dems bridle as some in GOP blame shooting on the left

The gunman who shot a top GOP congressman and several other people Wednesday at a baseball practice outside the nation's capital had a long history of lashing out at Republicans and once frightened a neighbor by firing a rifle into a field behind his IL house. Suzanne Hodgkinson, the wife of a gunman who shot and wounded a top Republican congressman and several others, said her husband went to Washington, D.C. because he wanted to work on tax policy.

Hodgkinson, a Belleville, Ill., resident who officials said had been living out of his auto in Alexandria, Va., opened fire as Congress members and staffers practiced for a charity baseball game slated for Thursday.

"The. ways they could do that is you've ever been treated by a mental physician or in a mental hospital, or you've been convicted of a felony, or have been convicted of domestic battery", said Wagner.

Hodgkinson said repeatedly that she saw no signs her husband was planning violence.

Back in IL at least one friend of Hodgkinson - who didn't give his full name - defended him, saying, "I just want to let people know he wasn't evil, that he was exhausted of some of the politics going on".

Thankfully, nobody was killed in the tragedy (with the exception of Hodgkinson), though House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in the hospital. "I know I speak for the entire country in saying that my hopes and prayers are that Rep. Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery".

As for Scalise, he's still in critical condition, but he's improving.

The Hodgkinsons had been married nearly 30 years. "From everything we've known in our interactions with him, he never tipped off and gave any indication that he was violent in any way".

"I would argue that the president is at least - is partially - again, not in any way totally but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed", said South Carolina Republican Congressman.

"I know he wasn't happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff", the shooter's brother told the newspaper.

When Hodgkinson left for the Washington area, his wife figured he just needed a break since their daughter and 2-year-old granddaughter had just moved into their home and usually spent all day with him.

"I'm sorry that he did this". He always drank alone, and always drank cans of Budweiser - sometimes just one, sometimes as many as six, said Kristina Scrimshaw, a bartender at the restaurant.

In March, Sheriff's deputies came out to Hodgkinson's house in IL after a neighbor reported hearing 50 gunshots.

  • Larry Hoffman